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The GSA: Specialists in Girls’ Education

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Bolton School Girls’ Division belongs to the Girls’ School Association (GSA), which held its annual conference last week in Newcastle. There, Girls’ Schools’ Heads learned that there is currently a large gender gap in in university applications, with a third more girls  than boys getting in to universities. Of these girls, the highest achieving come from GSA schools, which account for 7500 girls studying A Levels across the country and 2.5% of candidates for University each year. This summer, 21.6% of girls from GSA schools got an A* grade in a least one of their subjects, against 7.9% girls nationally.

Nationally, the most popular subjects for girls at University are English, psychology, biology, maths, art, history and chemistry. For girls educated at GSA schools, however, the most popular subjects are among those listed as ‘facilitating subjects’ by the Russell Group of universities. The most popular for girls in GSA schools are maths, biology, chemistry, English, history and geography. Over a quarter of girls in GSA schools do at least one MFL and 55% do at least one STEM subject.

Some University departments are highly reliant on girls from GSA schools to fill their places. These include departments teaching classical studies, Modern Foreign languages other than French, German and Spanish, Maths and Physics. This summer, one in every four A* grades achieved at A Level Physics was from a girl in a GSA school and one in three of the A* grades awarded in French.

In September 2013, 94% of girls educated in a GSA school went on to Higher Education in this country and 2.7% went overseas for the next stage of their education. 67% of girls in GSA schools applied to a Russell Group University. The most popular universities for girls from GSA schools were Bristol, Leeds, Exeter, Nottingham, Edinburgh, Durham, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, UCL, Oxford, Sheffield, KCL, Warwick and Southampton. This year, 97.8% of girls in GSA schools had at least one offer from UCAS; I in 3 applying for Oxford or Cambridge from a GSA school received an offer. 10% of girls in GSA schools apply for medicine and, of these, 29.8% received an offer for a course.

In 2011, the Sutton Trust published a report listing the top 100 schools preparing pupils for the best Universities in the country. 33 of these schools, including Bolton School Girls’ Division, were in the GSA.

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